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How to Clean Aluminum Rail

Posted by Mark Carew on

How to Clean Aluminum Rail .

          Although these makings and discolorations will not hurt the performance of the extrusion they just don't look very nice and cleaning them up makes a world of difference.


Anodizing aluminum is not always perfect process and sometimes the extrusions will have anomalies like a white calcium build up from the wash tank or gummy tack from packing tape etc... stuck to the surface. Also from my experience black extrusions (from shipping or even just stacking them in the warehouse) can have what looks to be scrapes through the anodizing but turn out to be aluminum surface 'rubs' that leave a silver looking streak. Although these makings and discolorations will not hurt the performance of the extrusion they just don't look very nice and cleaning them up makes a wold of difference. So I thought I would share what we use to clean V-Slot here in the OpenBuilds warehouse.

OpenBuilds V-Slot

My Dad is the one who showed me this 'trick' years ago while working on an aluminum screen room pool enclosure. The extrusions always had marks and scrapes and as a kid it was my job to clean them before we installed them.  Back in the day we used Comet because its exfoliation power was awesome and really did the job well. Today we use Fast Orange brand hand cleaner. It has that same exfoliation properties but has a few advantages in that it does not require water, comes in a squeeze or pump bottle and smells nice.

Fast Orange cleans aluminum extrusion

Take a paper towel with a few drops of Fast Orange and scrub the problem area, wiping back and forth while applying some pressure.  It is possible to rub through the anodizing if you aren't careful.  On the more stubborn areas, try letting the Fast Orange soak in for a few minutes before wiping.  

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This technique should work for most problem areas.  If an area still looks a little rough, check to see if it is smooth to the touch.  

Smooth aluminum is really the most important feature of linear rail systems like V-Slot ® to ensure that the V Wheels will ride smoothly up and down the rail.  

OpenBuilds VSlot V Wheel

OpenBuilds and V-Slot are Registered Trademarks of OpenBuilds, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.  Copyright 2016.

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